Monthly Archives: August, 2009

Africa goes Hardcore

The maker of the documentary mentioned below has a CiF piece up, highlighting the shocking situation he observed in Ghana:

The village has no electricity, but that doesn’t stop a generator from being wheeled in, turning a mud hut into an impromptu porn cinema – and turning some young men into rapists, with villagers relating chilling stories of assaults taking place straight after the film’s end. In the nearest city, other young men are buying bootlegs copies of the almost always condom-free LA-made porn – copying directly what they see and contracting HIV. The head of the country’s Aids commission says porn risks destroying all the achievements they’ve made. It’s a timebomb, he says.

The concerns aren’t theoretical – I met young fathers with HIV whose only sex education came from LA, women living in the villages subject to post-screening abuse, and even a shy teenage virgin who has written to a porn outfit in California asking to star in their films (his return address was care of the local church in Accra).

Unfortunately, his ‘solution’ is ‘corporate responsibility’: getting all the multinational companies that make huge profits from porn to insist on condom use. What he misses is that since most of the porn consumed in Africa is going to be free clips or boot-leg copies, African ‘consumers’ don’t matter in terms of profit. As LA pornographers have already made abundantly clear, demand from paying (ie Western) consumers is for no condoms. The pornographers have also made it abundantly clear that if anyone does attempt to police the industry, they will go underground and do it anyway, and worse.

The porn producers aren’t deliberately pushing their products into Africa. But the tide of black market DVDs on sale at street markets and hardcore clips viewable at internet cafes is almost unstoppable. Surely this multibillion-dollar industry needs to take some responsibility for the human costs?

It’s staggeringly nieve, to imagine that either multinationals or pornographers give a shit about anything other than their profits.

And as one of the commentators over at CiF points out, all this is doing is asking men to use condoms when they commit rape, he doesn’t seem to care so much about the rape, only that men are “copying directly what they see and contracting HIV” – he doesn’t even mention that they will also be passing HIV on to the women and girls they rape.

Hardcore Profits docu on BBC2 tonight

Hardcore Profits

10pm, BBC2

The conventional wisdom that sex sells has never looked less disputable than in the internet age: the pornography business contributes up to $20bn to the US economy annually, and by some estimates makes more money than Hollywood. Tim Samuels’ two-parter explains how pervasive the porn economy has become. Its cultural impact is also colossal, as Samuel discovers in Ghana, where a local fondness for Californian hardcore is undermining efforts to promote condom use.

From

Anti-porn quote of the day

Alright, dude, we get it: widespread porn consumption among teenagers has led to an expectation among young men that sex ought to mimic porn, and hence that women ought to submit to all manner of the degrading and potentially harmful acts that mainstream porn depicts. That’s fucking terrible news, as us anti-porn feminists have been saying all along.

From Nine Deuce: This must be one of those “eye of the beholder” things. She is reading misogynist crap so you don’t have to.

Quote of the day

Sexolympics

Influenced by concerns about overpopulation, the counterculture of the 1960s, and the societal effects of television, the play depicts a world of the future where a small elite control the media, keeping the lower classes docile by serving them an endless diet of lowest common denominator programming and pornography. The play concentrates on an idea the programme controllers have for a new programme which will follow the trials and tribulations of a group of people left to fend for themselves on a remote island. In this respect, the play is often cited as having anticipated the craze for reality television.

From Wikipedia description of the 1968 television play The Year of the Sex Olympics.

Gonzo pornography as “cultural apocalypse”

WARNING: The page linked to below contains descriptions of gonzo porn that may be triggering. This post itself may also be.

An interesting thread up here on pornography (I found it because it links to the ‘Porn and Sexual Liberation’ essay up on our sister site Autonomous Radical Feminists).

It’s hard to read a description of gonzo porn that involves women being dumped in a garbage bin in an alley after being used for sex by multiple men, and not come to the conclusion that men hate women.

Demand Change! Petition

The Demand Change! campaign have a petition up at the Number 10 website, asking the government to decriminalise those who sell sex, while criminalising those who buy.

Studies indicate that the majority of women enter prostitution under the age of 18 and that childhood abuse, poverty, drug dependency and homelessness are key triggers into prostitution. Once in prostitution, sexual and physical assault is common and 9 out of 10 surveyed women say they would exit prostitution if they could.

It is essential that those selling sexual acts are decriminalised and that support services are provided to exit prostitution. Furthermore, legislation is needed to curb the demand for prostitution that expands the industry and fuels trafficking.

Proposals to criminalise the buying of sex from a person subjected to force are a welcome step towards shifting criminal liability to those who purchase sexual acts. However, it does not go far enough in terms of ending exploitation through prostitution and preventing future generations from being coerced into the sex industry.

We therefore urge the government to follow the ‘Nordic model’ which decriminalises those who sell sexual acts whilst criminalising those who purchase them. This approach has been adopted by Sweden, Norway and Iceland, as part of their end violence against women policies.

Child Prostitution in the Netherlands

‘Loverboys’ child prostitution scandal back in Dutch spotlight

They got chatting in the playground and two weeks later the boy, Manou, persuaded her to skip class, drove her to his student flat, gave her a joint and slept with her. She didn’t want to, but was told all girls had to learn how to do it. “You’ll do well, you’re the right size, you’re well taken care of, they like that,” he said. She didn’t really know what he meant, laughed at the smiley faces on his boxer shorts, and then passed out from the dope.

[…]

Days later Manou drove her to another flat during morning class. It smelt of drugs and there were two men in the living room. “You’re going to have sex with them, sweetheart,” he said. “Are you mad? I don’t even know them,” she laughed. He took her into the kitchen, beat her “to make her listen”, then gave her a joint, and she went to the bedroom with the men. Afterwards, he dropped her back at school and she cycled home to her mum. She didn’t tell anyone. He promised her nice clothes and took her to McDonald’s for ice-cream. He gave her a mobile phone and called her every night in her bedroom at home, controlling everything, telling her when to go to the toilet, eat, go to bed. “I thought it was normal,” she said.

The public is asking why, in a nation where prostitution above the age of 18 is legal and regulated, a crooked sub-culture of loverboys and their child-prostitute “girlfriends” exists.

“Manou had regular customers. Some were fathers, family men, company directors, school directors,” she said.

One from the Spinster Aunt’s Archives

Do it, do it, do it till you’re satisfied, whatever it is. Just don’t kid yourself. You’re gettin’ off on patriarchy. Which is not to say that patriarchy-blamers can’t be all “yay, BDSM!” Because if pain and humiliation get you off, what better way to achieve it than by hanging a sign on your ass reading “I blamed the patriarchy but all I got was his stupid orgasm.”


Do it Till You’re Satisfied

Also, from the 20th comment in the thread, by ‘Char’:

BDSM: You get all the sexual freedom patriarchy will allow you. The question is, is that equality? And who is satisified with sex instead of freedom? As Ti-Grace Atkinson might require us to ask.

“But I do not know any feminist worthy of that name who, if forced to choose between freedom and sex, would choose sex. She’d choose freedom every time.”

Turn your back on page 3

Another from the F-Word today. Francine Hoenderkamp has an article up explaining the background to her Turn your back on page 3 campaign, including her meeting with Clare Short.

“Can this be eradicated?” I immediately asked. Clare seemed positive that it could be, and surprisingly enough she thought even more so because of the current economic climate. She said that the press is under huge pressure at the moment, which leaves them with no choice but to assess their strengths and weaknesses. I was perplexed by this, because I thought surely Page 3 would be the last thing to go? Why, the drop in sales and thus loss of taxes would put such a dent in Gordon’s Brown’s pocket he may have to close a few hospital wings! Although, if it did ever come to this, maybe he could start with closing the breast augmentation wings, especially as it is now possible to get breast enlargements on the NHS if it is affecting a woman’s self-esteem… but isn’t Page 3 and its ilk part of the reason women have self-esteem issues in the first place?

Quote of the Day: How do I look in this?

Alex Brew, of the FemAdLib Kolektiv has a feature up at the F-Word, How do I look in this, on this, doing this, with this…?, challenging how subversive the use of pornography-influenced imagery in art really is.

The advantage (for the artist, gallery, dealer, media and audience) is that the female body is still being shown in galleries and might even be titillating. But what makes it remarkable, according to the critics, is that it now has the ability to provide a dose of analysis. But does it really? Did anyone else spot that parodying a porn movie by flirting ‘outrageously’ with the camera seems like a strange strategy given that porn stars are already highly valued for their fakery and flirtation?

To what degree would you have to exaggerate the sexualisation and commodification of women’s bodies to make it grotesque to the point of discomfort and create a shift in consciousness? The grotesque exaggeration of women’s sexual bodies became embedded in our culture over 30 years ago when breast implants, lip augmentation and labia trimming (not apparently the same as genital ‘mutilation’) became mainstream.